Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital and most populous city in Malaysia. It is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia and the major tourist destinations here include the Mederka Square,the House of Parliament, the Petaling Street, the National Palace (Istana Negara), the Kuala Lumpur Tower, the National Museum, the Central Market, the National Monument and religious sites such as the Jamek Mosque and Batu Caves. The city plays host to many cultural festivals such as the Thaipusam procession at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and its architecture is a blend of old colonial influences, Asian traditions, Malay Islamic inspirations, modern and postmodern architecture mix. Many of these buildings derive their design from traditional Malay items such as the songkok and the keris and some of these structures have Islamic geometric motifs integrated with the designs of the building, signifying Islamic restriction on imitating nature through drawings.
The National Museum which is situated along the Mahameru Highway has a collection comprising of artifacts and paintings collected throughout the country, and Kuala Lumpur also has an Islamic Arts Museum which houses more than seven thousand Islamic artefacts, including rare exhibits as well as a library of Islamic art books. However, the museum’s collection not only concentrates on works from the Middle East, but also includes displays from China and Southeast Asia. This place has a Cultural Craft Complex coupled with a museum that displays a variety of textile, ceramic, metal craft and weaved products. All the information of the production process is portrayed in a diorama format complete with historical facts, technique and traditionally engineered equipment. The Royal Selangor has an ultra modern visitor’s centre, which allows tours to be conducted through its pewter museum, gallery and its factory. In its pewtersmithing workshop, `The School of Hard Knocks’, participants are taught to create their own pewter dish using traditional tools and methods. Amongst those shown are pottery making, intricate wood carving, silver smithing, weaving songket cloth, stamping batik patterns on cloth and boat making.
The National Mosque of Malaysia, Masjid Negara is situated amongst a beautiful garden and is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly-independent Malaysia. It is a uniquely designed building that embodies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art with its tall minaret having the shape of a “closed blue umbrella”.
The Lake Gardens is a manicured garden near the Malaysian Parliament building, which was once home to a British colonial official. The park includes a Butterfly Park, Deer Park, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden and the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, Southeast Asia’s largest bird park. Other parks in the city include the ASEAN Sculpture Garden, KLCC Park, Titiwangsa Lake Gardens, Metropolitan Lake Gardens in Kepong, Forest Research Institue, Malaysia Taman Tasik Permaisuri (Queen’s Lake Gardens), Bukit Kiara Botanical Gardens, Equestrian Park, West Valley Park and Bukit Jalil International Park.
The entertainment hub of the city is mainly centred in the Golden Triangle encompassing Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Ampang Road. Trendy nightclubs, bars and lounges, such as the Beach Club, Espanda, the Hakka Republic Wine Bar and Restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe, the Luna Bar, Nuovo, Rum Jungle, the Thai Club, Zouk,and many others are located here.